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 Kurdish PKK rebels kidnap three Turkish soldiers

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Kurdish PKK rebels kidnap three Turkish soldiers  7.8.2012  

The PKK demanded Turkey's recognition of the Kurds' identity in its constitution and of their language as a native language along with Turkish in the country's Kurdish areas,
the party also demanded an end to ethnic discrimination in Turkish laws and constitution against Kurds, ranting them full political freedoms.  Photo: HPG  See Related Links
August 7, 2012

DIYARBAKIR, The Kurdish region of Turkey,— Kurdish rebels abducted late Monday three Turkish soldiers in the southeast of the country, the Anatolia news agency reported quoting the local governor.

Members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) stopped a passenger bus on the Lice-Bingol highway at 1710 GMT and kidnapped three soldiers who were off duty, Diyarbakir governor Mustafa Toprak told Anatolia on Tuesday.

The soldiers were travelling to see their families in Sanliurfa province near the Syrian border, the governor said.

He added that an operation was under way to find the kidnapped soldiers.

Kurdish rebels stormed a Turkish army post on the Iraq border Sunday, triggering fighting that killed 22 people in the latest clash since Ankara unleashed a major offensive against the insurgents.

A series of similar assaults against troops in Turkey's Kurdish region in the southeast (northern Kurdistan) prompted the army to launch an all-out offensive against PKK bases in the area last month.

Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin said Sunday as many as 115 rebels had been killed since the offensive began on July 23.

The Turkish ground and air operation, one of the biggest in years, is focused on the Kurdish town of Semdinli, in Hakkari province, and local media said about 2,000 Turkish troops were involved.

The PKK has several times proposed peaceful solutions regarding Kurdish problem, Turkey has always refused saying that it will not negotiate with “terrorists”.

Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

The PKK wants constitutional recognition for the Kurds, regional self-governance and Kurdish-language education in schools.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list.

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